Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Cooperative learning

this is a paper that i had to write for my science methods class about cooperative learning

Brenna Wade
Science Methods
Question #4

Discuss what you believe to be the pros and cons of cooperative grouping based on your own experiences and those from the articles.

Before I read the article I wrote a list of the pros and cons of cooperative grouping in my opinion and from my own experiences. I think that everybody will have different feelings about the subject since everybody has their own learning preferences. In my case I found that I had just about the same number of pros and cons which I didn’t think would be the case since I rather enjoy working in groups.
I found three main points as to why I like working in groups. I think that it gives you a chance to meet people that you might not have known otherwise, especially when you are randomly assigned the group from the teacher. Group work also usually entails doing some kind of creative project which is always an exciting change from the book work that we are used to. When you are in a group you also get to show what your talents are, for example, one person might want to be the writer, one the drawer, one maybe the person who interviews and so on.
I also found that I had three main points as to why I dislike working in groups. I have found that when you work in groups it is hard to depend on all of the other members to be on time or to do their part and so on. I am the kind of person that usually does my part ahead of time because I hate the thought of putting it off until the last minute and then stressing out about it and for this reason I find it easier to work on my own. I also don’t like getting one grade for the whole group because sometimes I think that some people in the group do more than others. Lastly, it is hard to mediate between the group sometimes because everybody wants to do it their way and there is no “higher authority” like the teacher to tell the group what to do since the main point of it is to work together.
In reading the articles I found them extremely interesting because I didn’t really realize that teachers were so aware of the problems that can be encountered in group work. I think that my experiences in group work go back to the latter years in school and I don’t really remember what it was like in elementary school. The articles did pose good solutions to problems that would be seen with younger kids. I especially liked the placement strategy, I thought that it was also randomly assigned but now I don’t think it is. I agree with the articles that cooperative learning is “a tool that enhances the very idea of relevancy and real life learning” and that it works more towards constructivism as we learned about last class. A balance between cooperative and individual learning is the best bet, in my opinion, and allows you to develop both social skills and deductive reasoning on your own.

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